Not every airport in America is designed with its passengers first. While plenty of them are great to travel from, others will leave you wishing you’d just stayed at home.
Going on vacation is something that most people look forward to every year. After all, it’s a chance to get away from home and relax after months of hard work. There’s so much you can do during your time away, from climbing mountains and exploring cultural attractions to having some fun in the sun. What’s more, there are so many places you can visit to enjoy your well-deserved vacation. The world is your oyster.
Of course, before your time off can truly begin, you need to get to your destination first. That’s where planes come in handy. Whether you’re vacationing stateside or going abroad, these are the quickest ways to get from A to B with little hassle. Well, that is unless you’re traveling via one of the worst airports in America.
While we wish all airports could provide the high level of service that passengers expect, some places are much better suited to people’s needs than others. If you want to get your vacation off to a good start, you may wish to reconsider where you travel from.
Baltimore-Washington International Airport
If your reason for traveling is to visit Washington, D.C., you may want to reconsider using Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Set 45 minutes outside of the US capital, it’s not exactly in the most convenient location. That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to problems here though.
There’s not a great deal to do in the airport, with amenities at an all-time low here. It’s also lacking when it comes to dining establishments, meaning you may go hungry if you haven’t got any food on hand. This is definitely not the place to be if you have a long layover.
Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport
Despite being named Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, this place isn’t especially close to either Dallas or Fort Worth. It’s around 20 miles from the former, and 25 miles from the latter, meaning you’ll need to give yourself plenty of time to get there.
Of course, once you arrive at the airport, you won’t find much there to keep you entertained. Some terminals have almost nothing to occupy your time, so your best bet during a long layover is to catch some shut-eye. It’ll make the hours fly by, just make sure that you don’t oversleep and miss your connecting flight.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport isn’t the biggest place around, and that’s part of the reason it’s such an undesirable place to be. The smaller size means it gets busy quickly, something that’s only exacerbated by the frequent flight cancelations.
An airport filled with angry passengers is rarely ever a fun place to spend your time, which is why so many people don’t like traveling from here. It also doesn’t help that the options for food and drink are relatively limited, with every other establishment apparently a Starbucks. We knew the coffee chain was everywhere but does one airport really need this many cafés?
Orlando International Airport
Although Orlando International Airport is one of the bigger places to fly from in America, it still manages to be one of the busiest too. We suppose that’s not too surprising given it’s in Florida, home to things like Disney World and Universal Studios.
Still, it’s no fun when you’re trying to navigate an airport that’s filled with thousands of other passengers. The constant influx of people probably explains why Orlando International Airport is so bad for getting through TSA. The average wait time is just shy of 25 minutes, meaning you have to do a lot of standing around when you’re here.
Denver International Airport
A lot of thought goes into how airports are designed. People usually want them to be spacious and modern, with plenty of facilities to keep passengers entertained. In the case of Denver International Airport, the aim was apparently to give people a lot to talk about.
Unfortunately, that didn’t quite work out in their favor. The inclusion of murals in there have made the airport a talking point for all the wrong reasons. We’re not sure what inspired them to go with this kind of imagery. It doesn’t exactly inspire you with hope right before you hop on a plane.
It’s one thing for passengers to hate on an airport, but it’s another when the staff can’t stand it either. Unfortunately for LaGuardia, it seems to get the thumbs down all around. Complaints about it being too busy and the food prices unreasonably expensive are common, particularly among flyers.
Moreover, pilots find it incredibly challenging to touch down at the airport, with one person saying it’s a “complete pain from 18,000 feet.” Sadly, as much as people might dislike LaGuardia, they can’t always escape having to go there. Sometimes there are burdens that you have no choice but to bear.
Newark Liberty International Airport
If you want an idea of what people think about Newark Liberty International Airport, just look at where it ranked in a satisfaction study last year. According to JD Power, they were bottom of the list after more than 40,000 people had their say.
That doesn’t bode well for the airport, especially given the wide variety of complaints that passengers had. All manner of things, from baggage claim and check-in to food and drink facilities, were called out in the survey. Even pilots agree that this airport isn’t one of the best, with delays unfortunately all too common here.
John F. Kennedy International Airport
We suppose it shouldn’t be too surprising that an airport in New York has a habit of being overcrowded no matter when you’re there. Given that New York City is a favorite destination for many travelers, somewhere like JFK was bound to be bustling with activity.
Of course, given the area is known as a tourist hub, maybe they should have built the airport a bit bigger. That way, people would have a little more breathing room while they’re waiting for their flight. Catching a plane is stressful enough without having to deal with crowds of people all over the airport.
Charlotte Douglas International Airport
It’s never easy when somewhere like an airport undergoes a massive refurbishment. While it might be beneficial to passengers in the long run, the work can really hinder people’s experiences until it’s over. The renovations for Charlotte Douglas International Airport are expected to be completed sometime in 2020, although whether they’ll finish on time is yet to be seen.
Projects like this tend to drag on a lot longer than they’re supposed to. With any luck, once the construction is complete, the airport will boast a greater variety of amenities. That’s something that passengers find to be a bit lacking right now.
Boston Logan International Airport
Another place undergoing renovations, Boston Logan International Airport proves just how long these things can go on for. Work has been ongoing for around a decade, which is far too many years in our book. The constant construction has started to annoy passengers who aren’t impressed that things have yet to be completed.
While the airport might be a nicer place once everything is over, the end is starting to look like it’ll never be in sight. Thankfully, while the renovations might be increasingly frustrating, the airport at least provides a reasonable service. It’s not the best, but it’s not the worst, either.
Los Angeles International Airport
Los Angeles International Airport, or LAX, might be well-known, but that doesn’t mean it’s a great place to travel through. Pilots and passengers both have a lot to say about this place, and their opinions aren’t too flattering. One person referred to LAX as being “great if you don’t work, drive, or fly there,” pretty much making the airport redundant.
Clearly, being based in one of America’s most popular cities hasn’t served this place well. It doesn’t help that it has the same traffic issues that plague the rest of LA. Getting to the airport should never be this much hassle.
San Francisco International Airport
Delays and cancelations are the things most passengers dread when it comes to flying. There’s nothing like having your vacation spoiled before you’ve even got there because of problems with traveling. Unfortunately, people who tend to use San Francisco International Airport know all too well how frustrating this is.
According to the Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report, nowhere else in the US has more delays with departures and arrivals than here. That’s not an accolade you really want to boast about, is it?. The cause of these problems is likely the crowded airspace around this part of the US.
Washington Dulles Airport
Here’s another airport with a fairly misleading name. If you were going here to spend time in Washington, D.C., you might want to be prepared for some extra travel. There are several dozen miles between the Washington Dulles Airport and the US capital, meaning your taxi fare won’t come cheap.
Although a metro line is in the works, it’ll be some time before that’s up and running. So, if you’re going to fly here, you’re better off exploring Dulles and other parts of Virginia instead. It’ll save you a fair bit of money, and there’s still plenty for you to see.
Oakland International Airport
Things aren’t so bad at Oakland International Airport if you’re an American citizen. That’s because the biggest complaint people seem to have here is the issues around immigration. The airport doesn’t appear to be as advanced as others when it comes to dealing with this process.
That’s why international passengers find themselves losing potentially hours of their time dealing with everything. Apparently, these people are forced to wait on the plane after landing, only to then join a massive queue when they’re finally allowed off. Now that’s the kind of hassle no-one wants to deal with after a long flight.
Miami International Airport
Miami International Airport might not have the worst reputation when it comes to delays, but it’s pretty low down there. Roughly 20% of the flights that leave here do so later than expected. That means you essentially have a one in five chance of not departing on time when you jet off on your vacation.
Those are the kind of odds you don’t really want to deal with, especially if you have a connecting flight afterward. It’s no wonder that some refer to this airport as the worst “in the modern world.” What good’s an airport if its flights aren’t accurate?
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is just as bad when it comes to delays, and it’s not only departures where it has a problem. According to last year’s numbers, 20% of planes arriving at the airport were delayed, alongside the 21% that were departing.
People have come to distrust this place because they never know whether their flight is going to go ahead as planned or not. What’s more, the constant spate of delays just causes everything else at the airport to fall behind schedule too. By the time people actually arrive on their vacation, they’re probably too tired to do anything anymore.
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport
While plenty of airports appear to be undergoing renovations to improve their amenities, that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport would rather stay firmly in the past than go through some costly and time-consuming upgrades.
While that might mean they avoid causing any disruption to passengers, it also stops them from providing people with what they want. Flyers are growing increasingly annoyed with the airport’s outdated appearance, and they’re desperate to see some improvements. Even the small addition of simple things like power outlets would make a considerable difference to their experience here.
Philadelphia International Airport
There’s not much going for Philadelphia International Airport right now. Passengers frequently complain about the rundown facilities and poorly-scheduled flights, with departures and arrivals delayed around 20% of the time. Apparently, it doesn’t take much for this airport to start falling apart, with small changes in the weather enough to throw things off.
It’s no wonder that $900 million is being put into this place over the coming years. Hopefully, that money will be enough to turn the tides and make this an enjoyable place to travel to and from. However, we’ll have to wait 15 years to see if that’s the case.
Chicago O’Hare International Airport
No-one can ever accuse Chicago O’Hare International Airport of being too small. This place is so spacious that you’ll never feel like it’s crowded, even during the busiest times of the year. Unfortunately, while a bigger airport might mean more space for facilities, it does have its downsides.
Some terminals are too far away for you to walk to, meaning you have to take a train to get there. That’s not ideal if you have a short layover between flights. Rushing from one side of the airport to another is the last thing that you need when you’re on vacation.
Kansas City International Airport
If you’ve never been to Kansas City before, don’t let its airport give you the wrong first impression. While it might be unpleasant and hard to bear, the locals assure that the surrounding area is lovely. Evidently, more money needs to be poured into the airport to stop people from getting the wrong idea.
Areas that need vastly improving include the tiny, unclean restrooms and the poor quality food options available. Once those things start changing, maybe people will begin to see Kansas City in a better light. Until then, though, the airport will continue to be a problem for the area.
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport isn’t without its good points. For instance, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame gift shop isn’t the kind of thing you expect to find somewhere like this, yet here it is. Unfortunately, as it stands, the negatives at this airport currently outweigh the positives.
One thing that a lot of people take issue with is the baggage claim carousels which have a reputation for breaking down constantly. Waiting for your luggage takes long enough as it is without having to deal with technical issues. This could do with a few renovations, much like the rest of the airport.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
When you’re known as the world’s busiest airport, you can’t afford to make mistakes. Sadly, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport doesn’t seem to realize that. Of the 107 million passengers that went through there last year, the majority of them weren’t too happy with their experience.
It seems that the crowds were the biggest issue, with passengers complaining that there were too many people for the facilities to cater to. Others considered the size of the place to be the most significant issue because they had trouble making their connecting flight. Apparently what makes this airport so famous is also its biggest downfall.
Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport
No matter what it does, Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport just can’t seem to win over passengers. It has services available to make travel through the airport easier, but people still find it too big to navigate. They say they have issues making connecting flights because getting from one place to another takes too long.
It doesn’t help that they get lost along the way because they also find the signs unclear. That’s probably why passengers aren’t quick to rave about the place, referring to it as “middle-of-the-road.” They say it feels neither old nor new; it’s just very average.
William P.Hobby Airport
William P.Hobby Airport has been in the news quite a lot recently, although that’s rarely been a good thing. Some of its most notable stories include its fake bomb scare and the dance performance that went viral. However, it’s the conditions at the airport that are the real talking point.
Dirty restrooms and malfunctioning power outlets are concerning issues here, as are the repeated water shut-offs and frequent flight cancelations. None of these give the airport a good name, especially when you add the terrible customer service into the mix. You might want to rethink going here for your traveling needs.
Salt Lake City International Airport
Things should hopefully be getting better in Salt Lake City once the new airport opens. This is due for completion in 2020, meaning there’s only a matter of months left to wait. Of course, until this opens, locals and tourists alike have to deal with the current airport, which is far from pleasant.
People have referred to it as being claustrophobic and outdated, two criticisms that aren’t unfounded. It’s not the biggest airport around, and it hasn’t received any major renovations since the 1980s. That’s a long time to leave things untouched, especially given how much has changed in the last few decades.
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
It’s strange that the Airports Council voted Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport one of the best places in North America last year. After all, that’s not an accolade that most passengers would consider this establishment worthy of. The queues at security alone are enough to put them off flying here, with reports that they can take as long as 90 minutes.
We know they say you should arrive at the airport well in advance to your flight, but this shouldn’t be why. Moreover, attempts to make the place better connected have only caused more issues. Navigating an airport should never be this hard.
San Jose International Airport
On the surface, San Jose International Airport looks like it has a lot going for it. With plenty of direct flights that tend to run on time, it certainly seems to fare better than many other airports in America. However, the design of the place lets it down immensely.
It’s basically just one big hallway that isn’t made to accommodate a lot of passengers at once. If several flights arrive at the same time, it can cause absolute chaos with people going in different directions. This is not the place to be if you’re someone that can’t handle walking long distances.
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
Despite undergoing recent construction, it seems there’s a lot about Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport that still needs some work. Several of the terminals haven’t seen proper attention in years, leading them to become neglected and unloved. Passengers have reported broken seats, malfunctioning outlets and tiny restrooms among the many things wrong with the place.
They’ve also complained about the lack of air conditioning, something that’s particularly problematic in a state like Arizona. The heat can become unbearable at times, and passengers can’t even get a drink to cool themselves down. Some of the terminals don’t have any dining facilities after security.
Chicago Midway International Airport
Renovating Chicago Midway International Airport was supposed to help the place thrive, not make it worse than before. Unfortunately, the planned improvements that were brought to this place have only turned passengers against the airport. While adding more gates might have been a good idea on paper, it’s only served to make crowding a bigger issue.
Evidently, there’s not enough space for all the new passengers to go, which is why queues for security now sometimes lead out into the parking lot. Perhaps they should have thought about the potential consequences before investing millions of dollars into the refurbishment project.
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
While Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport might boast an impressive vintage design, it’s too stuck in the past. Passengers find it hard to appreciate the architectural masterpiece of the airport because it interferes with their needs. For instance, the lack of power outlets is certainly hard to appreciate, especially given how many people use cell phones and tablets nowadays.
If you’re stuck on a long layover, the last thing you want is for your devices to run out of power. It’s even worse when you have to deal with melting by the huge glass windows that turn the airport into a greenhouse.